Friday, December 12, 2008

Yuletide Cheer

I'm depressed. Have no fear -- it's not serious. I get blue every winter, only it usually hits me in January or February. December is usually too frantic. Besides, Christmas season makes me happy.

At least it used to. I like buying presents for people I love, and I like the anticipation of opening presents. I don't even care if the gift is goofy. It's free! I'm delighted to open a Pink Panther DVD starring a hit-or-miss Steve Martin in one of his worst misses. Extra large snow mittens? My hands might still grow.

This year, I haven't gotten into the Christmas spirit. For the most part, it seems like a hassle. I used to buy books for everyone in my family, but I've forgetten which books I've bought, and I don't want to give one of my sisters The Life of Pi for the third year in a row. Besides, if I go by my "Do unto others" credo, I don't want anyone to buy me a book because I already have three different stacks of unread books in three different rooms. So this year -- gift certificates! Merry Christmas, shoppers!

I do enjoy putting up the Christmas lights. My overly helpful neighbor, a guy who lights up his own house as if he wants to outdo Clark Griswold, comes over every Thanksgiving weekend when he sees me standing on the very top of my wobbly 8-foot ladder trying to hang lights on the gutter. He drags over his super long ladder, which means I have no choice but to string lights on the upper story as well.

Wendy and the boys get excited about Christmas. Wendy decorates every nook of the house, and I help with the Christmas village and tree. When we finished trimming the tree, Max shouted, "This is the best Christmas ever!"

Question: So why am I glum?

Answer A: I may just be glum. Not every emotion has to be attached to something going on in your life. Sometimes you're just glum, or happy, or horny, or angry. No reason.

Answer B: No dangling carrots. No Leadville to train for. No fascinating elections to obsess over. No interesting blog to write (I too have noticed that this blog is nearly dead). No Friday stories. No upcoming work projects. No big trips planned. No chance of the Colts playing in the Super Bowl. Not with those banged-up lines.

Answer C: The economy. I lost more than half of my savings. Suppose I had worked hard to save $350 for my retirement. In two months, that $350 has turned into $185. And let's say I bought a house for $600. That house is now worth $575, and dropping. Even though I made it through yet another round of layoffs (that's the seventh one since I've been here), the slumping housing market and depressing job market gives me a sense of being stuck. I need to stick it out at Adobe, and I need to stay put in my house. Forget about the fact that my job is good and I really like my house. No one said emotions have to be rational.

Answer D: Donuts.